The Bad Guy Wins in This One - Chapter Fifty Four (Patrick)

Patrick fired another blast through Tasha’s armored plating. Her good eye winced in pain, but she shrugged it off and tried to grab him again with what was left of her claws. He fired a quick blast to his left and easily propelled himself out of her reach.

“How many times, I got to tell you baby, you can’t touch me. I’m the star quarterback, bitch!” He fried off another one of her claws, letting loose his power in a controlled burst. He couldn’t believe how good he felt. He’d never been able to allow himself to go all out before, always afraid of how his power might go out of control. He’d spent so much of his life trying to suppress it, to contain it, wishing he was normal. He was always so afraid he might kill someone if he slipped up, even a little. Even when training with May and Jared, he always held back, partly not to kill them and partly to avoid Redarctica realizing just how strong he really was. But trying to control the raging fire he’d had with the boost made his normal powers feel weak by comparison. Now he could focus his fire to the exact intensity and strength he wanted it to be, and there was no point hiding what he could do anymore. And going all out felt great.

Tasha was too slow. He had no doubt that even with his strength she could crush him to death if she could hit him. But he was used to dodging the tackles of superfast linebackers. A several ton behemoth didn’t stand a chance with him jetting around. Tasha would probably have done better in her non-boosted form, where her sharp talons could move quickly enough to cut through his body. As it was, each claw was larger than he was and slow as hell compared to the sort of speed he was putting on.

Her lack of surrender in the face of such dismantling is highly perturbing. Is she being sneaky or merely stubborn? he wondered. She coughed a massive fireball at him, but it might as well have been warm air. He could tell there were flecks of acid in it and wondered if it would have been a problem for his stone skin. But as it was, he wouldn’t even let it touch him. He’d momentarily encased himself in a layer of flame so intense it bordered on plasma.

Patrick wished he could keep the armor up indefinitely, but when he first thought of the idea it didn’t take long to realize the armor burned up too much of the air around him and he could no longer breathe. He could bring it up again quickly enough though to protect himself from these little hiccups.

Maybe I should do what Jared did and attack her from the inside? Her nostrils might as well be caves, her vitals buried treasure rife for the picking. But even with his new found control he worried that he might kill her like that, and the truth was he didn’t really want to do that. She was his enemy and a psychopathic witch to boot, but the idea of putting her down unsettled him.

Maybe it was because it probably wasn’t her fault she turned out this way. Maybe it was because even fighting a girl was contrary to his upbringing, something he wasn’t entirely over despite all his training with May and his last encounter with Tasha. Or maybe the idea of killing anyone just bothered him. He wasn’t sure the cause of his anxiety, but he knew he would regret it if he killed her. Especially when he knew that right now it would be so easy to do.

He got behind her and flew up her spine, trailing a line of fire up her back. She roared in anger or pain. How might I convince her to capitulate? Just seems mean pricking her like this. Maybe if I knock her the hell out I can resolve this matter without unnecessary loss of life… Patrick jetted up above her head by a few hundred feet, taking in her massive form. He couldn’t quite believe how large she was.

There were explosions in the distance and he saw jet trails. The military? He saw the tiny shape of the mansion far beneath him and maneuvered to make sure he didn’t do something stupid like blast her into it. Then he shot downwards like a comet, fire streaming behind him as he propelled himself forward at full speed. He wasn’t sure she even saw him coming as he crashed down on her head from her blind side.

His fist slammed into her skull at full power, but he was confident she could take it. Her body crumpled into the ground beneath him and the armor cracked beneath his knuckles. She grew still, and only the mammoth motions of her breathing let him know he hadn’t overdone it. He smirked as she began to shrink. He began to lower himself down to the ground.

“Yeah! You might be a dragon, but I’m a fucking phoenix.” This was even better than when he’d personally run eighty yards for the game winning touchdown in the state championships. I wonder how Jared and May are doing… guess I should go see if they need any assistance metaphorically slaying their foes, though they might prefer a more literal interpretation of the word slay than I am comfortable with and Tasha might escape. Maybe I should just stay with her until the authorities get here? Preferably super powered ones... mere mortal men should be spared interacting with such crafty demon spawn as this one.

He was torn about what to do when he noticed something was wrong. Tasha was scantily clad in human form, but it seemed like she still had armor on. Hard scales still wrapped parts of her body. Wait…wouldn’t she just revert to… He barely saw her move when her fist sent him a hundred yards.

He’d liken it to a bus hitting him, but he was pretty sure that would have hurt less. Sucker punched again. He forced himself to regain his footing only to see her already next to him, slamming her leg into his side. Sucker kicked?! This time he blasted in the other direction to keep from sailing off uncontrollably again. He shot skyward, trying to put distance between himself and Tasha. But before he’d gotten a hundred feet in the air there was a sharp pain on his back and it felt like he was trying to lift several tons. He came crashing back down to the earth.

“Welcome to the second half, big star. I think it’s time for an upset,” Tasha spat out. She picked him up and he saw her good eye was still a reptilian slit. “I would cut your throat out, but I seem to have broken a nail. I would turn into a snake form and crush you, but you’d just burn through me. So I guess I’m just going to have to beat you to death, hot stuff.

She slammed a fist into Patrick’s chest and something cracked. How is she so fast and strong? It’s like she has every bit of strength from her other form, but she’s faster than I am now. Patrick knew this was bad, but he wasn’t out of the game yet. Time for some special plays.

Her fist struck down again like a piston, but this time he was ready for it, putting all of his energy into a blast right at the point her fist was striking. Her strike rebounded and she fell back in agony. Patrick knew he couldn’t go easy on her this time, not if he wanted to live. He focused his fire into a sword and struck down, half severing both her arm and leg. She tried to slap him across the face with the other one, but he used a defensive blast again. It sent her sprawling, mangled limbs dragging behind her as she fell to the ground. The charred flesh made Patrick sick to his stomach.

Patrick concentrated and created a second sword. He went to stand over her, no longer feeling quite as victorious. He was having a hard time breathing and was pretty sure it had nothing to do with the flames he was holding. Girl friggin broke me.

“Don’t you think that’s enough?” he asked her. She glared at him silently, but the scales began to retract. Patrick noted nervously that the burned flesh on her arm and leg were regenerating and knitting together. Healing? He wondered what Jared would do. He couldn’t decide if Jared would have killed her or not before she healed enough for round three, but he knew he couldn’t do that. She was completely naked now, and he hated to admit how physically attractive she was. Why the hot ones always got to be so crazy?

“Looks like you won. So what now? You going to rape me or something, hot stuff?”

Patrick scratched his head, thinking for a moment. “Of course I won, I’m Patrick Williams. I don’t lose. But rape you? Fuck girl, you seriously need therapy to help alleviate the myriad of mental illnesses characterizing your violent, greedy and incredibly erratic behavior. Like, a lot of it. Maybe start with a communications specialist as they might assist you in understanding that your overly sexual advances are not an adequate or appropriate way of mitigating your sociopathic trends if your goals in any way involve a desire to be admired, desired or appreciated in any way,” he explained to her. Then, because he couldn’t resist it, he added in “That sort of psychologist might also be able to explain to you that just because someone chooses to communicate in a creole mixture of slang, simplified imperial and Dirketh dialectic doesn’t mean they are stupid and definitely shouldn’t be underestimated. Now I think we’re going to sit here until your boost wears off and if you try to turn into a bug or something I’m going to knock you the hell out before get even close to done.”

Patrick enjoyed seeing her eyes widen as she realized he’d been playing her from the start, and settled himself down comfortably on the grass.